NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
25 Jul 1998
AlaskaKetchikan Gateway County
- 55.35 -131.67333
- Sennheiser MKH 30
- Sennheiser MKH 40
Stereo=1; Decoded MS stereo
NPR/NGS RADIO EXPEDITIONS
Log of DAT 9 Interview with Dale Pihlman reporter: Chris Joyce
CJ -se alaska seems to be in a state of flux -where to do you think it is going -is it going int he right direction? Is it difficult for people? ....
1:59 DP -My name is Dale Pihlman. I run tours in the Ketchikan area. My company name is Alaska Cruises 2:06
CJ -how long have you lived here?
DP -I am a native -56 years.
2: 17 CJ -tell me a bit about the cruise biz you are in ....
2:20 DP -started doing cruises in the Misty Fjords Nat! Monument in 1980 and we also do a local nature cruise of the historical ketchikan water front and immediate area
2:37 CJ -do you think the nature of the economy is changing and ifso -how?
2:42 DP -yeah. Obviously with the shut down of the mill there is a transition of other segments of the economy, or they become more important in the overall economic fabric -tourism is obviously becoming more important. Fishing has had its ups and downs. It is a fairly imp part of the community but it is subject to some pretty good fluctuations. So I see tourism as the shining star in the economic base of ketchikan.
CJ -does everybody feel that way?
3: 16 DP -no prob the displaced mill workers would not agree with you-with that position. I think they see people that are involved in tourism as people that are kind of on the other side of the fence. We value pristine wilderness. We value ops for recreation. And they are not really mutually compatible with clear cut logging.
3: 42 CJ -that was a quest. I wanted to ask .. . can you have both? Can you have a viable tourism industry and at the same time cont to log the way people have been loggin gin the past.
3:55 DP -Well, wilderness is relative. There are always going to people that come to alaska bc relative to NYC it is magnificent -even if there are a lot of trees cut down. So I think it is a very personal quest -as to what tourism is to the individual. To me it is exposing people to wilderness, and so massive clear cuts detract from my experience, my clients experience and my enjoyment of my work. Other people if they are in a biz that caters to RV prob don't feel as much that way -their biz prob going to be as effected .. ..
5:08 CJ ¿ for the first time I have heard a term I haven't heard before ¿ VIEW SHED
5:18 DP -I think it is a relatively new term. The forest service is pretty good about coming up with new jargon .. .1 guess what they are saying is being able to view -or have a view -that is relatively aesthetically pleasing. In other words, keeping the logging out of sight. I think that is what viewshed means. Or I guess what you can see I guess is the viewshed, and I guess ifyou are going to maintain the viewshed it means logging in such a way that the logging is largely out of sight.
5: 50 CJ -now that might be fine for people like you bc most of your people go out on a boat and they are not going to see what is behind the ridge. Do you think that is going to work.
6:07 DP -I think for people on the cruise ships -the large ships -it is adequate. For the large ships bc they don't get off the beaten path. For the some of the smaller ships it is prob alright and for a lot of what I do it is prob alright. Form a biz perspective in terms of what I am doing now it doesn't impact my biz, but I would like to diversify or actually change the direction -actually I have a new boat under construction that I am building largely myself that will sleep 12 people over night, and I would like to go explore old growth, watersheds and hike salmon streams and kayak and get out into the land a little more -into areas that cruise ship passengers don't see. So for me logging anywhere in se alaska is -HOLD ¬W A YES HITTING SIDE OF DOCK -7: 12 DP talking about what a water shed is -7:30 those types of area are getting to be few and far btwn and for somebody that is serious about wilderness recreation to se alaska those are the area you seek out. So they are imp even though they are out of sight form cruise ships ... the direction I would like my biz to take as well as me personally in terms of my aesthetics and appreciation of the land.
8:00 CJ -but that suggests that there is a crucial diff ¿if logging is going to co-exist with tourism here. it is one thing to say ok we can accommodate tourists, we will just log behind the ridge ....... more friction btwn logging and that kind of tourism ....
8:44 DP -ecotourism -right. I am not against logging but I am for logging that is sustainable that supports a small level of industry with a lot of labor and finished work involved. Logged to certain extent is fine. Selective logging, helicopter logging personally to me is acceptable and it defaces the landscape the least. But partic in se alaska we have some pretty unique areas that are going to be increasingly sawed out. The population is increases and wilderness is diminishing so there is an exponential factor here (someone's alarm beep) that is going to make wilderness increasingly valuable at a very fast rate; for so called ecotourist or people involved in true wilderness recreation such as -I have done some of and hope to do more of.
CJ- some of what SS and RC are doing¿ 10:40 = how many people can you get- it is rough¿. Is that really and economic option- that kind of ecotourism?
10:57DP- well, I think philosophically there should be something for everything. For all Americans: for people that are- don't get around well. RVs are OK, but I wouldn't advocate paving the Tongass so all those people would have access. I think there should be diversity in the industry. I think that is healthy to have extremes that- places to go that are diff to reach. Hard to hike in. there is a certain amount of people that want to go that environment. I guess it is partially economic, partially economic diversification as well as being philosophically disposed to accommodate all typs of people in our country- in here, in this area. And from an economic standpoint , those people that come and stay here ecotourists tend to be people that fly in, spend a night in a hotel, decide where they are going- tourism industry has branded those people are labeled independent travelers. And recognized that they spend most amount of money for the time spent. So rather than bringing masses of people an impact the community, let's diversify to that some people come and have a lot of money to spend and the masses can be accommodated in those cruise ships, on estbl. Hwys and they spent less than the people did overnight. There a whole spectrum of people- a continuum of what they want and how much time they spend in the community. And I think ther ought to be something for all and I think it is good for the economy- for the economic diversification of the community. 12:47
CJ -that is an interesting observation in that you can sort of evaluate a tourist and how much money they bring in .... you are saying that ecotourist brings is say the typical person who comes off a crusie ship for an afternoon.
13: 11 DP -yeah. Studies have well demonstrated that the so called indep traveler ... and all indep travelers aren't ecotourists but that spectrum of the indep traveler definitely brings in -it is well qualified -many more times more thatn what a cruise ship brings in. they spend hundreds of dollars per day -I think cruise ship travelers spend maybe $57 per visit. .. 14:09 part of it is selfishness. I stay here bc I like the quality oflife. I like the wilderness, so I don't want to deal with masses of people. I think we should have lesser people with more money to spend. BREAK (someone screaming in bg) 14:51 to a certain extent I support independent travelers bc it helps maintain my quality of life in the community. It impacts the community less, bc lets face it -moving masses of people does impact the community -does impact the quality of life. 15:12
CJ -was talking to Tim -...... 10 yrs ago -one bar after another full of loggers and now it is knickknack shops. There is a price to be for switching over the economy
15:43 DP -yeah -there are pluses and minuses -ALARM BEEP -I certainly would not take an elitist position and say that .... 15:53 I wouldn't take an elitist position and -what it would be would be if I said that loggers are bad bc they drink in bars and get in fights ..... 16:06 so you know I guess that had been part of the normal economic structure of the community for as long as I have been here -the logging industry and the rough and tumble aspect of it and I don't know if it is good or bad -it gives us more col versus knickknack shops. You know I don't want all k-k shops I want it to have a feel of reality and in terms of my biz I think people come here and appreciate the fact that this is still a real community. It is not al k-k shops. So I guess there is a happy medium here too. At least at this point in time if you have
shops you loose reality, and people -whether they realize it or not -want -they are nostalgic and they want to see a real working community, they want to have a sense that it is a real place -not just a place that threw open the doors to them to sell trinkets. 17:09 \ (,
17: 10 CJ -It is a delicate balance, bc some of those tourists are going to want knickknack shops and they are going to want to come and buy stuff .. ..... .. I wonder if at some point if the balance shifts -what many people come here for ... . disappears.
17:42 DP -I would hate to see that -yeah. In fact, when the saw mill shut down -we had a saw mill downtown -ketc. Spruce mill and it shut down 10 yrs ago or more -and I said leave the core of the mill, leave some of the machinery there bc that sort of harkens to past. .. .let's leave elements that reflect our past bc this is what people are interested in. they are interested in history, they are interested in reality, but they tore it all down and put some brand new bldgs down there which are trinket shops ..... (talking about trying to save some of the bldgs) -reflective of the past .... to me personally it is imp from a biz perspective it is imp too. To retain those elements in the community. Just sort of identify it.
19:16 CJ -how many professional fisherman would you say are here? or how much of the economy is wrapped up in professional fishing?
19:24 DP -that is a good question. The Dept of Labor says that the biggest -there are more wage earners in the fishing industry that any of the any industries. I know that. And I don't know that in terms of boat owners how that relates to their position in the economy. I can't tell you that.
CJ -well roughly speaking if you were to break it into tourism based industry or income -fishing ¬logging -how would it break down?
20:01 DP -well, the fishing industry is the largest employer in the state. (CJ-what about Ketchikan?) and I would imagine at e c . -It would be true in Ketch bc we have a petty good size fleet.
CJ -and after that?
DP -I would guess tourism and timber in that order -but that is just conjecture ... I haven't seen the figures.
CJ -what is this body of water?
DP -Tongass Narrows
CJ -talking about wanting to know what it is like to live in a natl forest
21:32 Dp -I have always felt good about being in the biz I am bc it justifies preserving the forest -saving the wilderness and the boat tours that I do are of course low impact -minimal impact -generate income for me and my employees, 15 plus employees. So it is actually been kind of fun. I have been an active conservationist for most of my life and I would prob regardless the industry that I have been in, but it has been enjoyable and gratifying for me to say -cutting down the trees impacts my job bc that is the refrain of the timber industry if you are stopping our logging youare stealing our jobs. So I have been able to say well, preservation preserves my job and those of my employees so it has been an enjoyable to be able to ¬biz to be in and it has been nice to be able and take that position. 22:35
23 :48 -26:04 ambi of area: -on dock on the Tongass Narrows